What People Initially Thought Of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings (novel)

I recently came across a review of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings books when they were first published in 1954. Of course, today the books are regarded as some of the best fiction ever written and have spawned oscar-winning movies. But this review from 1954 featured in a British magazine, The New Statesman, was scathing: Continue reading “What People Initially Thought Of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings (novel)”

The Movies To Watch This Summer 2018

Last week, I wrote about books for the summer, this week I’m talking movies. There are loadsa great movies out this summer, but below are the ones that stand out – split into popcorn or thinking movies (!):

Popcorn movies

Incredibles 2. Some say the first Incredibles is the best super-hero movie ever made. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was a great a movie. The sequel comes 14 years after, and focuses on the mother character and Jack-Jack  (the baby)! It will surely be one of the best popcorn movies of the summer. Continue reading “The Movies To Watch This Summer 2018”

My Recommended Summer Reading List

The sun is out, summer is here, it’s time to read some great books. Here are my recommendations:

Fiction and memoirs

Educated by Tara Westover. I’m in the middle of this book based on a true story. Imagine a girl raised in the mountains by deeply conservative religion parents. That means no modern medicine, no secular education, no revealing clothes and no TV or music. The mountains were not Afghanistan, but the US and the parents were Mormons. Then throw the girl, the author Tara, into modern world when she starts university.  An incredibly insightful book of how our society operates, revealed through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it before. Continue reading “My Recommended Summer Reading List”

18 Must-Read Articles From Male Unemployment To Mind-Reading Robots

Politics

What is wrong with tolerance Great essay on the flaws of tolerance from its origins of protecting the dominant religious group  of a country to its flaw around tolerating intolerance. The essayist instead argues that societies should focus on reciprocal exchange. This is the process of understanding the benefits and responsibilities of each person to each other.

‘Governments don’t want us to think that protest has power’ Great interview of one of my favourite musical artists, Saul Williams. He talks about the power of language. His love of Shakespeare and Public Enemy. And the need for hip hop artists to reclaim their rebellious spirit rather than embracing the establishment. Continue reading “18 Must-Read Articles From Male Unemployment To Mind-Reading Robots”

How To Rethink Time To Become Fulfilled (3 min read)

Raised in western culture, I think of time as an arrow. That is, I feel I’m constantly moving forward to the future leaving the past behind. Implicit within this is the notion that I’m progressing. While this has many benefits, it has many  shortcomings too. A fundamental one is that I’m never happy where I am. But there are there other ways to think about time, which can make life more fulfilling: Continue reading “How To Rethink Time To Become Fulfilled (3 min read)”

Never Before Had Europe Been Overshadowed By Four Giants – Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman

That’s how John Julius Norwich characterises the early 1500s in his book Four Princes. The four were all born in the 1490s  and went on to shape Europe for centuries to come:

      • King Henry VIII ruled England. He broke from the Papacy of Rome, established the Church of England, created a superb administration and transformed the navy.
      • King Francis I ruled France. He was the Renaissance man. He brought Leonardo da Vinci from Italy to France. He transformed the Louvre from a medieval fortress to a vast Renaissance Palace. He made French, rather Latin, the official language of the country.
      • Suleiman the Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire. He created a single code of law, expanded the number of schools and was extremely tolerant. He gave artists professional status and encouraged every form of artistic creativity by attracted artists from all corners of Europe whether Muslim or Christian.
      • Holy Roman Emperor Charles V combined rule in Germany, Spain and parts of Italy to create a new heart of Europe. Under his rule, European rule expanded to the New World defeating the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru. 

But these highlights mask the violence and divineness of religion that was unleashed during the period. Continue reading “Never Before Had Europe Been Overshadowed By Four Giants – Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman”

Imagine if Carl Jung Pyschoanalysed James Bond…

Freud and Jung are the two godfathers of psychoanalysis. The former tended to focus on mummy issues and repressed desires, while the latter  tended to focus on culture, myths and spirituality. Perhaps, the most intriguing work of Jung was his work on alchemy. Rather than seeing it as the debunked method of turning actual lead into gold, he viewed it metaphorically as the process for human transformation or as he called it individuation.

You may ask what this has got to with James Bond, well I came across a great article in the excellent movie magazine Beneficial Shock! that applied this Jungian idea on the four Daniel Craig James Bond movies. So I thought I’d lay it out: Continue reading “Imagine if Carl Jung Pyschoanalysed James Bond…”

How To Eat Your Way To 100 Years Old (3 min read)

There are so many books and articles about the right diet that it can be bewildering. There is the GI, Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, Dukan, Scandinavian LCHF, Banting, Bulletproof, South Beach and I’m sure many more diets.

All of these have there strong advocates and so it’s hard to decide which one to opt for. Thankfully, I came across the work of Professor Valter Longo,an expert on ageing, at USC Davis School of Gerontology. His work focuses on diets that can help you live longer and healthier, rather than diets that focus on weight loss and six-packs and is featured in his book , The Longevity Diet. His approach is based on five pillars: Continue reading “How To Eat Your Way To 100 Years Old (3 min read)”

Revitalising What Really Matters In Life With Rumi (3 min read)

Sometimes I can get so lost with the day-to-day of life, I forget what is the purpose of living. The cartoon Wall-E captured this well. Humans are forced to live on a spaceship as Earth can no longer sustain life. All their needs are met – they are fed and entertained, perhaps too well. But when the Captain discovers that Earth can sustain life and  tries to return, the main computer AUTO stops him saying “[Staying] on the Axiom [the spaceship],  you will survive”. The Captain replies “I don’t want to survive! I wanna live!”.  

I wanna live too! But what does it mean to live? For that, my favourite source of inspiration has to be Rumi. Continue reading “Revitalising What Really Matters In Life With Rumi (3 min read)”

My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. Listening to them forms part of my daily routine and I get many of my insights from them. I typically list my favourite podcasts, but this time I thought I’d list some of my favourite specific episodes. These may give you a springboard to enjoy the rest of the episodes of those podcasts. So here they are for this year (episode name first, followed by podcast name): Continue reading “My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year”